Composition on a boat journey

Composition – 4

Creative Writing – 58

When you were 10 years old, you had to accompany your father for a journey to a village a few kilometers away. You had to cross a wide river by a ferry boat. Describe how you felt as the boat made its journey.

My first boat journey

I vividly remember the half hour of horror and panic I endured during my first boat journey with my father. It was July, and it rained heavily.

After walking for about two kilometers in a muddy track, my father and I reached the river bank. My father tossed a few coins into the boatman’s hand, and we were offered the privilege of occupying a wooden bench close to the boat man’s post. Other passengers, all common folks, squatted on the boat’s floor. It was a fairly large wooden craft, some 30 feet long. After I was seated, I started peering into the faces of the passengers and the wares they carried. Next to us, sat a man with his dog firmly tethered to a hook on the boat’s side. Next to him sat a woman with a basket of luscious, red-yellow colored mangoes. Then there was a Muslim old man with four large roosters having snow-white feathers and bright red combs. The poor roosters lay motionless as their shanks were tied, and a canopy-like basket covered them. Another fellow passenger had brought two jet black goats, apparently headed for the butcher. I felt pity for the two goats. A vendor was carrying a basket of flowers. There were men, women and children of all descriptions. It was a mini village — in slow transit.

After the boat was filled to its capacity, the boatman untied the tether, and began to take his boat forward using a long bamboo pole. I felt thrilled. After going a short distance, he took out his rows. My heart was pounding with both fear and excitement. There was water, water all around. The boat moved painfully slowly swaying from side to side.

Just a few minutes into the journey, quite strangely, the dog began to bark frighteningly. Soon, the goats bleated, and the roosters crowed. The commotion terrified the toddlers on the boat, and they began to cry. It seemed hell had broken loose. Shaking in fright, I clutched my father’s hands tightly. He asked me to stay calm, assuring me nothing was wrong. The boatman lurched forward to order the dog man to restrain it. The latter struggled, but managed to pacify it. Soon, the goats stopped bleating, the roosters stopped crowing, and the toddlers fell silent. All was quiet again. I loosened my grip of my father’s palms, but I was perspiring and beathing heavily.

When I looked around, I could see that we had crossed the middle of the river already. All along, my father had been totally unruffled. The boatman asked his young son to row with him. It emerged that the duo was trying to keep the boat on course. I asked my father if it spelled danger. He just smiled and patted my back.

The boat neared the ghat. My father descended first, and helped me to get out. My first journey had ended. My eyes followed the mango woman, till she vanished out of sight.  [500 Words]

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